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Preventing construction injuries: How important is good footwear?

Construction work requires the right skills, experience, tools and equipment, especially under adverse weather conditions. Professionals will tell you that some construction injuries can be prevented when workers have proper gear that is in good shape.

What role does footwear play in worker safety? Consider the following.


Hazards related to footwear

Some construction accidents are preventable. With regard to proper footwear, secure footing and avoidance of hazards, worker safety can be compromised with regard to:

  • Falls from heights
  • Slippery surfaces on scaffolds, roofs, stairways and other areas
  • Slips, trips and falls on job sites
  • Joint, muscular and neurological injuries

Safety factors: Proper fit, grip, support and warmth

Comfortable shoes are helpful for day-to-day leisure wear. On a construction site, footwear is much more important. Though different jobs require many different types of movements and various levels of danger, certain factors are always important:

  • Boots should fit properly and provide proper support for the job. Good arch and heel support and appropriate widths are important for some workers.
  • Workers’ shoes and boots should provide adequate warmth, dryness and comfort.
  • Footwear should have well-designed outsoles that provide safe grip and are not excessively worn.
  • When surfaces are wet, icy or snowy, footwear must meet those challenges.

Rules and standards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has certain guidelines that relate to what some workers should wear on their feet, particularly in specialized fields. Some OSHA rules address standards for protective footwear for workers. In general, employers are responsible for key aspects of worker safety but are not required to provide footwear for them.

Help for injured workers and their families

A serious accident can change the life of a worker and his or her family — financially, emotionally and otherwise. If you or someone you love gets hurt on a construction site, workers’ comp may NOT be enough to cover your injuries and losses. Get legal advice about your case as soon as possible, since you may be entitled to money damages through a third-party claim (lawsuit) against negligent parties.


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